As I waited in line at Einstein Bros. Bagels this morning, I finally heard the one sentence that I read multiple times on social media last night.
“We beat ourselves.”
Of course, the young lady who ordered her breakfast sandwich she was counting on to be a pick-me-up was a Georgia fan. I thought back to the Dawgs’ 38-35 loss last night at Clemson and wondered silently if we watched the same game.
Sorry, Georgia fans, but your team was beaten by a better squad on Saturday night.
It’s an easy excuse to make when an SEC team loses to a nonconference opponent, and it’s one we hear every single time — there’s just no chance an ACC school could beat a SEC school outright, so it must have been the SEC team that just didn’t care.
Well, Clemson was better on Saturday night, and I can assure you both teams were trying.
I might have believed Georgia beat themselves if Clemson’s Tajh Boyd didn’t go off for five touchdowns — three through the air and two on the ground. The senior quarterback carved up a UGA defense that everyone knew would be suspect, and the way he exposed the holes all over the field was nothing short of surgical. That’s not beating yourselves, that’s being weak and vulnerable against teams that actually have a competent offense.
(Also read: Could Clemson go all the way this season?)
If the Georgia defense had any clue how to stop Clemson’s hurry-up offense, I might believe they beat themselves, but it seemed the only thing they could do to stop the speed was to have a player fake or embellish an injury. Isn’t it strange how Georgia’s players only got hurt when the Tigers ran a no-huddle offense?
I might have even believed Georgia beat themselves if senior quarterback Aaron Murray could actually convert a third down every now and then when it mattered (Georgia was 4-for-14 on third downs). How many times did Murray throw behind one of his receivers on a third down last night? Are Georgia’s wide receivers really that clueless about the playbook and running the wrong routes? I doubt it.
Finally, I might have bought into the “we beat ourselves” excuse if Georgia wasn’t so damn pitiful in a hostile environment. I wrote yesterday that the Dawgs were horrible in the only other big road game they’ve played in the last two seasons, and they were short of brilliant again on Saturday night. It’s a small sample size, but a trend is growing, and it’s obvious that Georgia’s fear of the big road game has left them unprepared when one does arise.
And if you think Georgia wasn’t rattled, their first play from scrimmage was a false start. They simply weren’t ready for the atmosphere on Saturday night, and while they adjusted and got a little more comfortable as the game went on, they couldn’t make enough plays to overcome the Clemson offense that beat them senseless.
That’s sad, because I really wanted Georgia to win. Now Florida State will have to beat the Tigers in Death Valley and ruin their dream season.